12 February 2013
Figures show that since the onset of recession in 2008 the real value of wages has fallen by 7%, or more than £50 billion a year. During the same period there has been a real terms drop in consumer demand of 5%.
Our report, 'Britain needs a pay rise', published today (Tuesday 12), argues this fall in the value of pay could be a major obstacle to the return of economic growth.
The report also busts the myth that civil servants are paid more than their private sector counterparts.
Using data from the Office for National Statistics and research by the Institute for Fiscal Studies, and government departments, employment specialists Croner and Incomes Data Services, and the Resolution Foundation, other findings include:
The report aims to generate a serious debate about the effects of low pay and government pay policy on the UK economy.
It comes as 250,000 of our members who work in civil and public services start voting in an industrial action ballot over cuts to their pay, pensions and terms and conditions.
We have asked for a pay rise for civil servants of 5% or £1,200 and for the living wage to be written into government contracts with private sector employers.
While ministers are not able to increase wages across the whole economy, increases in public sector pay and the national minimum wage - and support for the extension of the living wage by insisting on it for government contracts - would stimulate demand and act as a catalyst for the private sector.
PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: "Almost everyone can now see that austerity is not working. The chancellor George Osborne is borrowing more for failure, we are on the verge of a triple dip recession, food banks are on the rise and pay day loan sharks are preying on the vulnerable.
"We believe the government's pay policy, built on the lie that hardworking civil servants are paid too much, is having a seriously damaging effect on the whole economy.
"Instead of burying their heads in the sand and hoping for the best, ministers can and should act now to put money into people's pockets and back into our economy."